To the Mom with the Screaming Kid in Public:

I know that look. I recognized it as soon as your eyes met mine. It’s not the one that’s panicking because your kid isscream freaking out like they just lost their entire life savings on the Stock Market. No, you’ve got this. You know you’ve got this. The look in your eyes as they peer over the aisles between us is the one searching for the inevitable judgy eye. The one belonging to the person who is gritting their teeth over having to listen to your kid lose their shit. The eye of the person who is ALWAYS there every time your kid flips out in public, glaring. The kind that thinks your kid is a bad kid, or you’re a bad parent, just because they DARE to melt down in front of other humans. The kind who will go on Facebook when they get home and rant about how shitty kids are these days and how the world is doomed because “parents just aren’t controlling them these days.”

You’re looking for the inevitable narrowing eyes of someone who thinks kids should be seen and not heard. The kind who give advice like “you should just hire a sitter when you go shopping so that doesn’t happen”, or “you shouldn’t leave the house if you know your kid is going to throw a fit.” or “You should just leave the store immediately and take your kid outside.”

You hear the intercom over head come on calling for a “code 10” and you swear that someone has gone and reported you to management, even though you’ve done nothing wrong, and your kid has done nothing wrong– because these days, that’s not so far out of the realm of possibilities. With kids being banned from establishments and the word “entitled” being flung about so carelessly in reference to both children and parents, it’s almost expected. Sadly, you wouldn’t even be surprised. Thing is, you don’t want to be there with a screaming kid any more than anyone judgy shitbrick wants you to be there, but you have things to do. You know that life can’t just halt because you had children- in fact, life moves even faster. You have more responsibilities. MORE things to do. You don’t think you’re entitled to “ruin” someone’s shopping experience just because you decided to have kids. You don’t think having kids makes you “better than” everyone else, or that anyone should just accommodate you. No. You’re just trying to do what you need to do to take care of those dependent on you, the best way you can. Tantrums or not.

You’re not in a movie theater or a quiet restaurant. You just know that kids are human and this kind of thing can’t really be prevented all the time. You can’t just “hire a sitter”- not everyone has those kinds of resources. You can’t just leave your cart behind- you already spent a torturous hour in the place and you just want to get it over with.

You hurry, occasionally taking a break from pointlessly trying to quiet your red-faced child to look up and scan for those eyes, and you found mine. But I don’t look at you the way the ones who judge do. I look at you with a smile, because I know your look. I recognize it because I’ve worn it myself so many times before and it just happened to not be me today. But it has been. And it will be again.

I know you don’t need me to tell you, because you’ve got it handled (even if you don’t think you do), but I just have to say- who cares what anyone else thinks? You’re brave- and not just because you took your kid out in public (a feat in its own right). You’re brave because you’re powering through. Because you know that this is life. That your kid is being a kid. You’re being a good mom by not giving in to their a-hole behavior. You’re not ruining anyone’s day, week, life. You’re just getting shit done. You’re living. And the Judgy McJudgersons will live, too. Do what you gotta do, and screw all the narrowed eyes.

Posted on May 20, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 2 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • One of the best ads on local TV regarding something similar is the mother who gets down on the floor in the middle of the grocery store and kicks and screams, throwing a tantrum of her own. Her son looks at her with wide eyes, but immediately stops whatever he’s doing. The mother then gets up, quietly pulls her handbag back over her shoulder and signals for her son to follow her. Tantrum’s over. It’s hilarious.

    I’ve never gone to those extremes with my two teens, but I have done the “I want” routine, followed by the “but MOM!” As my mother often told me, embarrassing your children in public is not only fun, it’s mandatory.

  • I would have one screaming in the cart because I wouldn’t give her a cookie from the package in the back of the cart, one who was screaming & pushing our cart in front of me because her head kept getting banged in to the cart by my huge pregnant belly. And the oldest filling my cart with all kinds of crap that I had to keep removing from the cart. Ugh~ The judgy judgers would just roll their eyes after a stare down with me. I refused to apologize for being there in the same store with them. I was just trying to get shit done. Those were the days….